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Social Media Allows Vets to Share Info on Disease Threats

by 5m Editor
26 July 2012, at 8:50am

CANADA - The establishment of a new national communications network for swine veterinarians is expected to speed up the response to health threats within the Canadian swine industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.

To address gaps identified in the national surveillance needs within the Canadian swine industry the Canadian Swine Health Board initiated the development of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network.

Project Manager Dr Chris Byra, with Greenbelt Swine Veterinary Services, one of a group of companies involved in the initiative, explains the network uses social media to allow swine veterinarians across the country to communicate regularly and share information on new disease threats.

Dr Chris Byra-Greenbelt Swine Veterinary Services

The information gathered will be clinical impressions of veterinarians.

We ask them, are you seeing more or less of certain diseases.

The data network will collect information so that after a visit there will be some basic symptoms.

So we saw diarrhea, you'd say grower pigs had diarrhea, went up to 10 per cent, my diagnosis is such and such and if laboratory samples were submitted then the case would be kept open and when those came in they would be matched up with the case and so no identifiers of the farm.

There will be a geographical identifier but it'll include enough farms that there's no way anybody would know who it is and the practice name is hidden as well so that a veterinarian that works for a company for instance will be able to participate without identifying who his clients are.

The information goes to the veterinarian and the veterinarian is the gate keeper of it.

It's basically a part of their medical records.

What's shared is with agreement of veterinarians so if there's any sharing, say within a province or with industry or even in a public way, it will require the approval of the veterinarian and in turn he would of course have to have the consensus of his clients to be able to share that information.


Dr Byra says the network will provide tools the veterinarians can use in dealing with swine health issues and it'll help ensure all veterinarians in Canada have access to the same level of information.

5m Editor